The City of Philadelphia plans to go big with its beer gardens this summer, contracting with Avram Hornik of FCM Hospitality to run pop-up beer stands in up to 18 public parks, beginning as soon as June. According to Danya Henninger of Billy Penn, Hornik, who owns Morgan's Pier and several other long-standing Philly bars, was the only vendor to apply for the permit, which requires his company to give the city a per-diem fee and a percentage of gross profits along with promising to cover clean up and liability.
"Like anything else, [operating Parks on Tap] doesn't make sense unless you look at it in the long term," he says. "In the short term, it's investing a tremendous amount of time and capital in something that's not a proven concept.
"But it's a new way of looking at parks — adding amenities so that people want to come. City parks shouldn't be like a formal English garden, where you walk through and don't touch anything. This makes them more of a resource, not less of a resource. That's the city's view, and I agree with them.
"When they create an opportunity, that's the time for new ideas."
Most of the details still need to be worked out, says Henninger, but the team consists of the City, the Fairmount Park Conservancy, and the Parks and Recreation Department. Hornik was the first to operate beer gardens in Philly, partnering with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in 2013.